Regulations coming into effect at the end of 2024 will require all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port.

A typical USB-C port on a mirrorless camera.

On 23 November 2022, the European Parliament and the Council amended the 2014 Radio Equipment Directive, with the aim of requiring most portable devices to be equipped with a USB Type C port and to incorporate the USB Power Delivery communication protocol. These rules apply to all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems and earbuds from 28 December 2024 and laptops from 28 April 2026. A separate initiative on the eco-design of external power supplies is expected to ensure that the receptacle and the communication protocol are used on both ends of charger cables. Consumers will have the option to buy devices with or without a charger (unbundling) and will be informed by a pictogram whether a charger is included with a device. Information on the charging capabilities and compatible charging devices will be provided on a label.

The new law is part of a broader EU effort to reduce e-waste and to empower consumers to make more sustainable choices. It will have the following effects:

  • One single charger for all mobile phones and tablets – beneficial for the environment and for consumers.
  • USB Type-C port will be the new standard for portable devices, offering high-quality charging and data transfers.
  • Buyers will be able to choose whether to purchase a new device with or without a charging device.
  • All devices that support fast charging will now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.

While all mirrorless cameras (and mobile phones) already comply with these requirements, none of Canon’s DSLR cameras and only two Nikon DSLRs do. Neither company has released a new DSLR since early 2020 so this initiative gives them a sound reason for finally terminating their DSLR production lines. Several older mirrorless cameras, including the Canon M and Nikon Z50 will also be affected by the new regulations, although it’s worth noting Canon has terminated its EOS-M line and both models were released more than four years ago. Pentax, the remaining DSLR maker, is a relatively minor player in the global market but its latest DSLR models came with USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 2.0 interfaces and supported USB charging.